Review: Humankind by Rutger Bregman

I thought Bregman’s previous book, Utopia for Realists, was pretty good. This book is even better.

Bregman presents an optimistic view of human beings, and backs this up with many, many examples. He writes like Malcolm Gladwell, though his only mentions of Gladwell in this book are critical.

I would have liked to see references here to some examples of self-managed, democratic societies of the kind that Bregman advocates, including Georgia’s experiment in democratic socialism (1918-21), the kibbutz movement in Israel, Mondragon in Spain, and the cooperative movement more generally.

Having lived many years on a kibbutz myself, I can also see some of the weaknesses in Bregman’s argument. It is not enough to just have weekly meetings of the entire community; over time, fewer and fewer people may attend those meetings.

But on the whole, a beautifully written, convincing argument for a kind of anarchist-libertarian-socialist world.